Sunday, May 31, 2015

My experience with Sleep School and Sleeping Through the Night!

Sleep is something I obsessed about when Chloe was born. I hadn’t done much reading on how many hours a newborn should be sleeping so I sort of felt out of my depth and shocked when Chloe woke up multiple times a night.

Lucky for us, Chloe settled into night sleeps quite nicely and woke up every 3 hours as a new born and extended to 4-5 hours as she got older. At 4 months, she had slept through the night (7.30pm to 6.30am) a few times now and generally only wakes up once during the night for a feed anytime between 4.30am to 6am.

Her daytime naps on the otherhand were crazy. Between 1 month to 3 months old, she would only nap for 30-40mins in her cot (after being rocked to sleep) – she was a serial catnapper! It was really hard to manage especially if you spend the day at home as you feel like you don’t get anything done. That’s when I sought help from my local early childhood nurse who recommended Possum Cottage. I also had done a ton of research on sleeping, and have read a couple books – Gina Ford’s Content Little Baby and also The Happy Sleeper by Julie Wright and Heather Turgeon. I felt that the Happy Sleeper resonated more with me, I was happy to implement the “sleep wave method” once Chloe reached 5 months. In the mean time though, we just had to deal with her catnapping.

Possum Cottage is where parents can go for additional help on sleeping matters – learning hands on settling techniques. To me, it was more about a learning session for the parents rather than teaching the child!

As there was a waiting list for Possum Cottage of about 3 weeks, I found that Chloe’s naps became longer! She would start sleeping for about 50mins-1hr in her cot in the mornings, and her afternoon naps would be taken either in the pram at home or on the pram when I went out for a walk so I was able to extend her naps to at least the recommended 1hr.

Even though her naps improved, we still attended our appointment at Possum Cottage and Chloe was just shy of turning 4 months. The nurse could not settle her (although it was a hard time of the day – the afternoon nap!). We left her in a cot AWAKE (which I had previously never done before) and waited outside the door to self settle. Chloe did not self settle lol. She cried for about 5 mins before the nurse went in to do some hands on settling and eventually rocked her. Chloe still did not settle! Poor bubba.

So what I learned from that day was leaving Chloe to cry for 5 mins is ok. I tried this the very next day and Chloe slept on her own within 12 mins of putting her down during which she did not cry, although she was whinging. I could not believe it! Yes, she did whinge but eventually she fell asleep! I do not like hearing her cry hysterically – whenever she does this, I go in to calm her. But I feel that she is at the age now (4.5 months) where she has started to sleep by herself instead of relying on us to rock her to sleep!

This was my own experience with Sleep School, let me know if you have any questions or let me know about your own experience with sleep!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Newborn Must Haves!

Chloe is now 4 months old and sadly, no longer a newborn! While I do miss her being so tiny, I am definitely enjoying her more, especially seeing her smile and sharing storytime together :)

I have learned an incredible amount in the last 4 months about parenthood - it is a challenging first few months but so worth it and it definitely gets easier (or my expectations have changed hehe)!

Here is my list of newborn must haves (no particular order), it was something I was looking for and researching when i was 7-8months pregnant in preparation for the lil bub! Hope you find this useful!

Let me know what you found to be helpful in caring for newborns!

1. Swaddle Blanket
Highly recommend the swaddle blankets by Aden and Anais! They are huge (so will fit even the bubs measuring at the 85th percentile :P), soft and breathable and come in variety of designs. They are perfect for swaddling as well as using as a cover over your pram, a blanket, a burp cloth, a coverup while breastfeeding, a mat for your lil one to lie on. The best multi-purpose product ever!!

2. Bouncer/Rocker
If you have a bub that loves to be held 24/7 (and which bub doesn't when they are newborn?!), it can get pretty tiring carrying them around, not to mention you have done zero housework. A bouncer or rocker can be your saviour to give you that much needed 20 mins to shower, eat, do the laundry and exercise!

We tried three different types of rockers including the Mamaroo (which we rented), Fisher Price bouncer and the Bright Starts swing. It is hard to try before you buy, so I would recommend renting where possible before you go out and buy, as your bub may not like it and these things are pricey! Chloe went through phases of when she would like certain rockers/bouncers/swings. She never managed to fall asleep in any of them though!

3. Playmat
Around 2 months, Chloe loved looking at toys so I thought getting a playmat would be a stimulating playtime activity. I am so glad I did cos she absolutely loves it (and still does at 4 months!). I especially like the Bright Starts one we bought as the toys come down quite low so she can grab them and also they are detachable so you can take them with you in the car or pram as well.

4. Highchair
The Peg Perego highchair was recommended by a mum friend and Chloe loves it! She sits with us at dinner and its great cos it feels like real family time! I only wish I had bought it earlier as it is suitable from birth due to the reclining chair!

5. Baby Carrier/Sling
We definitely wanted to use a baby carrier but weren't sure which one to go with. We decided on the Ergobaby Bundle of Joy Original as it came with an infant carrier. Around 3.5 months, Chloe outgrew the infant carrier and she sits happily in the carrier. We have only ever used it with her facing my chest and its handy on days where I do groceries or go to the market!

6. Onesies and Leggings
In terms of clothes, Chloe lived in onesies (with the button up under the nappy) and leggings (for when the weather got cooler). It's easy, practical and makes changing nappies super easy. I love Pumpkin Patch for quality pieces and Bonds Wondersuits Zippies for pjs are the!

7. Bonds Maternity Singlet
Bonds is like my fav brand now as a mum! I wish I had discovered this maternity singlet earlier! it would have been perfect for summer! If you're a breastfeeding mummy, I highly recommend stocking up on these as they are practical and makes feeding super easy and non-conspicuous! You can wear them almost under anything!

8. Toys/Rattles with Contrast Pattern
You've probably read that newborns love contrast (black and white) patterns. Chloe loves Mister Penguin Rattle by Lolli Living! She's always grabbing for it in the car :)

9. Pram
We went for the Baby Jogger City Select as it had the option of carrying two kiddies. I love this pram! Although its a bit heavy, it is super sturdy, has huge wheels which help when going up stairs and is very easy to manouvre. It's got heaps of space too in the basket!! Love, love!!

10. White Noise App
White noise is supposed to mimic the sounds heard by the baby when in the womb. And given that the first three months is like the fourth trimester for a bub, white noise is a saviour when they are having a "moment" like in the car! I use the Relax Melodies app.

11. Blackout Blinds
Being a first time mum, I was obsessed with Chloe's sleep. I wanted to create the best environment conducive to sleep and I found that black out blinds helped heaps, especially for naps and blocking out the sun during long days in summer! We bought the Gro Anywhere Blackout Blinds which uses suction caps. The downside to these blinds is that it didnt fit our sliding door but its not a standard window size anyway! We filled the gaps in with black garbage bin bags!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Review: BFF Belly Bandit!

One of the things I've thought about before giving birth is how to bounce back to my pre-baby body. I admit I let loose during my pregnancy and ate whatever I wanted, exercised less, and used the pregnancy excuse. But I had a plan - I was going to start exercising, eating healthy and use the BFF Belly Bandit as soon as I gave birth!

So 3.5 months after giving birth, here is my review on the BFF Belly Bandit!

Unfortunately I didn't take any before or after photos but I am about 5-6kgs away from where I want to be (my favourite skinny jeans are still a tad too tight causing some serious muffin tops). Even if I didn't lose the 5kg, I totally embrace my new "mum" body :)

So in summary here are my thoughts on the BFF Belly Bandit...

What size did you buy?
I bought a size S. In retrospect I should have bought a size XS as within 2-3 weeks I had already shrunk so that there was not much velcro left to strap me in. Check the official Belly Bandit website for details on sizing!

How long did I wear it for?
I began wearing it within a week of giving birth (as the S only fit me at this time, it didn't fit any earlier than this!). I wore it for  about a month, first 2 weeks was day and night, second 2 weeks was day only. This was because I gave birth in January and it just became wayyy too hot to wear a shirt, let alone a belly bandit underneath it!

What were the results?
I found that I shrunk dramatically within the first few weeks. It was quite impressive! I would have definitely continued to wear it had it not been cray hot, and also if I had gotten a size smaller!

I liked how the BFF had two straps for closure, it was comfortable and gave me more control of how tight I wanted it to be.

All in all, I was happy with how quickly my tummy had shrunk (yet still lots of toning to do!) and how it helped to suppress my appetite (perhaps this was psychological as your belly had this constant pressure 24/7).

If you are a new-mum to be or recently gave birth (within a week or two), I would definitely give this belly bandit a shot for quickly shrinking your tummy :)